Sleep…. The one thing every person needs but can feel like a lot of work, if you have a hard time resting.
It does not make sense how the one thing we all absolutely need, and do daily, is hard to accomplish for some people. It is even crazier that sleep is often written off as a minor problem.
Why Does it Matter?
Sleep is recovery, mentally and physically.
Within one minute of falling asleep, our bodies are making changes. Body temperature drops, brain activity lowers and your heart rate and respiratory rate slow down.
All the functions our body has been working hard on all day, are recovering and taking the break they need to be back in action when we wake up.
Without good-quality sleep, every part of our physical, emotional, and mental health is affected. Over time, the lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems. This can include cardiovascular problems, a higher risk of obesity and Type II diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
Basically, without sleep, we are not functioning or living at the highest quality we could.
How Do We Fix it?
The good news is, there are many factors that can affect sleep and lots of ways to help improve your quality of sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 35.2% of adults in the U.S. report sleeping on average for less than 7 hours per night.
So, how do you help yourself improve your sleep?
During the day you can try and get in 20 minutes of exercise, get bright light exposure early in the day and limit your caffeine intake during the afternoon and evening.
At night, you should avoid screen time for 30-60 minutes before bed, avoid alcohol at the end of the night, set up your bedroom to optimize sleep (get black-out curtains, quality sheets, comfy mattress and pillows) and try listening to white noise.
Like most lifestyle changes, you should gradually change these things over time! Start with 30 minutes of screen-less time before bed or having one drink instead of two after dinner. Eventually, after some trial and error, you will know what works best for you!